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Wharton launches the first Ivy League crash course on the metaverse for business executives

July 26, 2022, 7:52 PM UTC
Picture of Wharton metaverse classroom
The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is launching a new certification course on metaverse economics.
Courtesy of the Wharton School

A growing number of companies, from Big Four accounting firm KPMG to electronics giant Samsung, are making the metaverse part of their business plans—a trend that has led one Ivy League b-school to add instruction in digital realms to its traditional fare of corporate finance and accounting.

In a first-of-its-kind certification program titled “Business in the Metaverse Economy,” the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will offer business professionals a six-week crash course on topics like VR technologies and blockchain-based worlds like The Sandbox and Decentraland.

One of the first topics the course will explore is how to define the notoriously vague concept of “the metaverse” itself.

“It’s hard to define what counts as metaverse. There’s this vision of all-immersive virtual reality that comes out of science fiction, and then there’s the reality of services that are out there today, like say Roblox as a virtual game platform,” Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor who is the academic director for the school’s executive education courses, told Fortune.

He added that the $4,500 course, which launches on September 12, will shed light on how the metaverse is transforming business and how executives can possibly incorporate it into their respective industries. 

This isn’t Wharton’s first foray into blockchain. In January, the school offered an inaugural six-week session of a course on the “Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets.” According to Guido Molinari, a managing partner at Prysm Group, a consulting company that helped Wharton craft the new course, a majority of students in its blockchain course also expressed interest in learning more about the metaverse.

Werbach said takeaways from the course will vary for each person, but could include lessons on how to build a brand in the metaverse, how the metaverse will change meetings and gatherings, and the business-to-business opportunities in the metaverse.

Yet, although Werbach said the metaverse is exciting in terms of its potential applications, he said it was important that the course not be too ambitious about the future of the technology.

“We’ve tried very hard not to get caught up in the hype and not to presume as people sometimes do that everything is going to expand like crazy, and we’re all going to live in the metaverse all of our lives in the future,” he said. “We’re trying to write a realistic perspective.”

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